Inspectors work year round to check gas stations for skimmers

LEE COUNTY

Trying to get skimmers out of gas pumps before they get your money.

WINK News tagged along with inspectors looking at three gas pumps that have had issues with skimmers in the past.

Inspectors are trying to stay one step ahead of the trickster before they can get people’s money.

The inspectors didn’t find any skimmers on Friday and that’s a good thing.

But they gave WINK News an inside look at where people hide them and explained why the public can’t see them when they swipe their cards.

Johana Cando said her mission is to get the skimmers before they get away with any money.

“We will check under the card reader. There’s no wires,” said Cando, consumer protection specialist with the Department of Agriculture. “Definitely when I find a skimmer it’s good because I go wow I actually help someone from whoever gets attacked.”

Finding the skimmers means knowing where criminals hide them.

Cando checks every nook and cranny making sure nothing stands out.

“It needs to look black inside, like a chip black, not blue. Nothing different,” Cando said.

But the criminals are savvy constantly changing their tricks, constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the inspectors.

“You can’t rest on what you’ve seen in the past because as soon as you get comfortable with what’s out there, they find another way to adapt,” said Ben Hair, consumer services protection supervisor for the Department of Agriculture.

“They know we work Monday to Friday so they usually target on the weekends where they will put the skimmers on,” Cando said.

So inspectors remind business owners to step up security and update their card readers.

Days where inspectors don’t find skimmers are good because it means customers can swipe safely.

Inspectors say they share pamphlets with gas station owners that show all of the ways they can protect their pumps and their customers.

Inspectors check every gas station in the state at least once a year but they come to gas stations with previous reports of skimmers more often.

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